Exponential’s 5 Reproducing Principles

Jon and Dave Ferguson wrote an AWESOME book a few years back on reproducing your church experience and becoming a missional-based church.  If you are a church leader and are interested in 1) taking your church to the next level or 2) reproducing your church (venue or multisite) this book is a MUST READ!  [you can pick it up here.]

In their first chapter, they outline 5 Reproducing Principles that I have found myself putting into practice in my Student Ministries that I have been over for the past 8 years (at least).  Here is that list:


If you are going to grow as a ministry, and have the ability to reproduce it in a healthy way, you need to have someone who you are growing to take your place.  It is not only a practical idea… it is a thoroughly BIBLICAL idea.  Moses had Joshua, Elijah had Elisha, Jesus had his disciples… especially Peter, James and John.  When you take the step from DOING ministry to TRAINING others to do ministry, you are stepping closer and closer to reproducing health in something like a multisite.


Reproducing leadership should be an ON PURPOSE decision, not one that happens to you.  If the reason you are reproducing leadership is to solve a problem, and not to fulfill a vision, then you should probably go back to the drawing board and figure out WHY you should reproduce.  Multi-site replication is not a fix to overcrowding or to declining attendance… those require different actions.


Some leaders think that they can’t multi-site their church until it reaches a certain size.  That MAY have been the thinking early on, but the statistics show us that there are a lot of churches that aren’t even close to the classical “mega-church” status that are multisite.  Why?  Because it isn’t about how many are attending your church… it’s all about if your leadership is ready to replicate.  It’s all about if there are healthy systems in place, written down, that you can fall back on.  It’s about leader readiness.


Before you replicate anything leadership-wise (multisite or not) you have to do some big soul searching.  I often am searching my own heart for why I want to build into leaders and interns: “Is it because I want to be viewed as a leader among leaders?” “Is it because I want to build something that everyone will be WOWED with?”  or “Is it really because I believe with everything that I am that God has entrusted to me the building and furthering of HIS kingdom here on this earth in this spot… and this is the best way I can find to do it?”  A good, old-fashioned heart check is a great place to start.


Leader replication can’t just be something that you do for multisite… it needs to happen EVERYWHERE!  It needs to be a philosophy of ministry that you buy into whole-heartedly… not just a strategy to get to a multisite campus.

I have loved how this book has challenged me in ministry.  It has helped move me from DOING ministry to EQUIPPING others to do ministry… but my goal is to not stop there… but eventually to have those who I am pouring into to take someone else through the replication process.



3 Key Traits to Replicating Ministries

One of the biggest trends in Churches right now is to make your church a multisite church.  One church, several locations.  There are many reasons for doing this, but the primary reason that a church goes multisite is to reach people beyond the physical influence of their current campus.  Our church (Hopevale) has been diving into the discussions of what it would look like for us to multisite in our area… and they have been great conversations so far.

But before you can pick a location and start putting plans in place, there are three traits that a church must have if they are going to replicate their ministry.  Those traits are:

1) Common VISION

If you are going to replicate your ministry into a new setting, you must make sure that everyone is on board with a common vision.  This is not the same as your church replicating their mission statement.  Mission statements answer the question “Who are we?”  Vision is all about “where are we going?”  If you are not in alignment with where you are going, you’ll never get there.

2) Core VALUES

In order to replicate ministry, you need to replicate it’s DNA.  The DNA of your ministry is found in a few shared VALUES that make you, as a church, unique.  It is these values that will keep you within the guardrails and help your multisite from going rogue.  For a lot of churches that are dreaming of going multisite, they may intrinsically KNOW these values… but in order to replicate them, you must WRITE THEM DOWN… and then keep each other accountable to them.

3) Consistent VOICE

One of the most important things you can do to replicate your ministry is to make sure that you have a consistent voice across the board on any campus that you call your church.  Your marketing, brand, graphics, language, feel… it all needs to be CONSISTENT with who you are as a church.  I bet there is a certain look that makes your church your church.  There is also a way you uniquely say things.  All of these things are important when you multisite.  These are the things you want to replicate.  It is also important that branding and marketing can travel well… meaning this: you can’t have something that is your location specific and then try to replicate it in another location without confusing people.  For example, our middle school ministry at Hopevale is called WIRED.  Now, that might make sense for the kids who come to WIRED or middle schoolers who live in our area and are used to our campus.  But what if we started another campus and had our middle school and high school combined?  That branding wouldn’t travel well for that.  That is why we are going to re brand our ministry to HOPEVALE STUDENTS this summer… and simply call it Middle School and High School.  It is clean and simple and makes complete sense to everyone we communicate to.  plus… Hopevale Students travels well… and it becomes a CONSISTENT VOICE across campuses.

Replicating ministries is not an easy task… but it becomes easier with a common vision, core values, and a consistent voice.